Looking to learn more about landscape design, construction and drafting?
Heather Heimarck, a long-time friend to City Garden Ideas and the director of the Landscape Institute at the Boston Architectural College, sent along the Institute’s Summer Course catalog – Summer 2013 COURSE OFFERINGS
Check out the short, hands-on classes at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley. Think about attending the course by painter and a historian, Ma Qingxiong. Students learn about Chinese landscape design and try their hand at doing oriental brushwork. Take a look at Ma’s website http://www.maqingxiong.com
The Institute is offering many other courses including a three-week introduction to design intensive, M-F, in July. Heather says it can be very rich to immerse oneself that way. If you have any questions, call 617 585 0100. Be well!
Posted in Expert Advice, Landscape Design Courses, Landscape Designing, Places to Visit, Recommendations, Workshops and Seminars
Tagged Boston Architectural College, City Garden Ideas, Expert Advice, Heather Heimarck, Landscape Design Courses, Landscape Institute
Before you plant your Spring window boxes, containers or street-side tree gardens, please read this! Ellen Abdow, the talented owner of Perennial Gardens, is offering her 5 top tips for a successful flower garden.
As a featured speaker at two City Garden Ideas workshops, she famously introduced the phrase ‘Thriller, filler and spiller,’ the three flower components for a winning container, to the audience. Watch Ellen in this YouTube video from the 2012 CGI workshop.
Here are her 5 top tips:
Tip 1. Look, listen and learn from all the gardeners that have come before you and the gardens all around you. Indulge in some good books. I always buy the ones with the most pictures. (Janine likes The Well-Tended Perennial Garden). Subscribe to magazines and gardening blogs to learn about the latest trends and tricks of the trade. Go on garden tours in the city, attend the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days garden tours. See what you like in other peoples gardens, copy, and make it your own. Mass Horticultural Society, New England Wildflower Society and the Arnold Arboretum all have excellent lectures and courses throughout the year jam packed with great information.
Tip 2. Be honest: Make an accurate evaluation of sun vs. shade, and plant what’s best geared for those light conditions. There are so many interesting cultivars of plants for any light conditions. Read the labels, ask your local garden center for advice and guidance, and plant accordingly.
Tip 3. Food and water: Proper soil and nutrition grows healthy plants. Build a solid foundation and plants will grow easily. Take the time to evaluate your soil and add organic matter to create nutrient rich growing environments. Invest in good potting soil for hanging baskets and potted plants that drains quickly found at your local garden center. Water regularly, not too much, and not too little. Ask for expert advice, and use it!
Tip 4. Change your mind: If you don’t like the way your planting looks, change it out. Try something new. A garden is never finished. Be willing to take chances. Have fun, relax, and grow what makes your heart go pitter patter.
Tip 5. Use every inch of space you have: Stuff every centimeter of your space with plants. Mount shelves on the walls, hang baskets off the railings, try vertical gardening. You can grow almost anything in a pot, just remember that a plant in a container is totally dependent on you for water and food.
Ellen started her business in 1993 and she and her team actively design and install gardens in Boston and out in the suburbs. To learn more about Ellen and Perennial Gardens, visit www.perennialgardens.net.
By the way, that’s my tree garden 🙂 in front of the Perennial Garden truck. Happy planting!
Posted in Boston Gardens, Container Gardens, Expert Advice, Landscape Designing, Recommendations, Spring Beauty, Sunlight, Window Boxes
Tagged 5 Top Gardening Tips, container gardens, Ellen Abdow, Expert Advice, Gardening Basics, Perennial Gardens, Small space gardening, Window Boxes
The Balcony Gardener
Hello… Sorry about sending out the empty post! Pushed the Publish button by mistake.
With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to share a gardening book I recently found at Annie Bells, now K Colette, a store filled with interesting things in Portland, Maine.
The Balcony Gardener is a website and the name of an easy-read, tip-rich book that would be perfect for the beginner or intermediate gardener. Isabelle Palmer is the author and, like me, loves beautifying small spaces. I bought the book for $19.95 but see it on Amazon for $13.57. You can also buy signed copies on The Balcony Gardener website. The book contains useful tips about gardening basics like soil, tools and pots. Plus very helpful chapters on growing herbs and other edibles.
As the inside book jacket says, “Even with the smallest of outdoor spaces it is possible to create a beautiful garden, be it on a balcony, roof terrace or window sill.” I couldn’t agree more!
If you have a city gardener on your holiday list, this book is worth checking out. If you have a favorite “go to” gardening book, please share! We welcome your comments. Enjoy the day!
Posted in Container Gardens, Expert Advice, Flowers and Plants, Gardening Books, Recommendations
Tagged Choosing Plants, City Garden Ideas, container gardens, Expert Advice, Gardening Books, Small space gardening, urban gardening, Window Boxes
Posted in Boston Gardens, Flowers and Plants, Local Beauty, Places to Visit, Recommendations
Tagged Choosing Plants, City Garden Ideas, Favorite Garden Flowers, Helenium autumnale 'Moreheim Beauty', Hibiscus rosa-sinesis, Small space gardening, urban gardening
So sorry I’ve been MIA. Back now with much to share!
Let’s start with a lovely and tough city beauty – the Black-Eyed Susan.
For the past several weeks I’ve been noticing the abundance and health of this perky perennial in gardens all over the neighborhoood. With so many colorful flowers past their peak, these bright yellow and sometimes purple flowers with the dark centers are finally getting attention! I did a bit of research on these wildflower stunners and found out they are long-lived, low maintenance plants with a tolerance for clay soils. They prefer full sun but tolerate partial shade. When they are planted in large groups, butterflies love them. One article I read said they are considered bioremediators. It seems that their roots and foliage tie up toxins from the soil and air. What a great benefit for a city flower!
Now here’s the back story on Black Eyed Susan. According to the American Meadow website, the name first appears in an Old English romantic poem by John Gay. It begins:
All in the downs, the fleet was moored,
Banners waving in the wind.
When Black-Eyed Susan came aboard,
and eyed the burly men.
“Tell me ye sailors, tell me true
Does my Sweet William sail with you?”
To read the whole poem and more, click here.
You may have heard of Sweet William. It’s the name for another flowering plant. It appears that if you “seed wild Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) with common Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), they’ll bloom beautifully at exactly the same time.” Now that’s romantic! Great flower, great story.
Til next time… keep your garden watered!
Posted in Flowers and Plants, Local Beauty, Recommendations, Sunlight
Tagged black-eyed susan, Choosing Plants, City Garden Ideas, Favorite Garden Flowers, rudbeckias, Small space gardening, Sunlight, urban gardening